Monday, April 29, 2013

"You are needed if this expedition is ever to succeed": Excerpt from Flower of the Desert

It's been a little quiet around here lately...which is actually a good thing because I've been focusing on writing instead of blogging. But rather than have my blog atrophy completely, I've decided to post excerpts periodically from my WIP, whatever WIP I happen to be writing since I have several competing for the keyboard at the moment.

The last several weeks the WIP of choice has been Flower of the Desert: Book II of the Chronicles of Tancred. Here is an excerpt from the scene I wrote today:

“The point,” said Alexandra, in just as high dudgeon as the marquis, “is that you must leave the city. The plague is spreading as fast as the stink of the latrines. Your life is in jeopardy.” 
“Yes," said Tancred, "but every one of my men is at just as much risk as I am—why this sudden spate of concern for me?” 
“Why?” Alexandra fumbled for an answer. “Because you are important, a leader among men. You are needed if this expedition is to ever succeed. The other lords had sense enough to quit the city last night, but you stay on for God knows what reason!” 
“I’d say more people than God know that one,” mumbled Ralph. He was trying to keep out of the fray as best he could, but he could not resist an aside or two when the occasion presented....
Note to self: investigate whether "latrines" is proper word for the time period. 

Tentative release date--December, 2013


  1. According to the Online Etymological Dictionary (a site which this pedantic reader uses to check words out) 'Latrine' dates from c.1300, 'privy' is earlier from c.1200, but your book is set 100 years earlier even than that.....

    1. And therein lies the rub...we have to use *some* word, and a word that readers can understand. Writing a book set this long ago, I have found that the sticklers' rule for only using words "appropriate to the time period" can become too much of a strait jacket. Thoughts on that?

    2. Yes, I rather think it is necessary to strike a balance, and that it is possible to perhaps go a little too far where period appropriate language is concerned. I read one novel once by an American called Howard Pyle in which most of the characters spoke Middle English or something like it and it wasn't always easy-going to say the least.

      That said, conspicuously modern idioms and phrases would probably stick out like a sore thumb and get the 'sticklers' started.

      'Latrine' is probably not too heinous if you like me are not familiar with commonly used late 11th century terms for a public convenience (cesspit?) Someone probably is, but I think most won't hold it against you...

    3. Howard Pyle! I LOVED that man's books growing up. His pen and ink illustrations are fabulous. Pyle's books made me quite familiar with archaisms...the downside of that being I sometimes use them in my own writing and don't realize that it's not something *everyone* can understand.

    4. It was a good story (though my copy didn't have illustrations) I just can find that sort of thing a little hard-going. Then again, maybe I would be more used to it now.

      There's nothing wrong with using archaisms methinks, and may it not be true that using obscure period terms and not realizing other people don't understand them is a symptom of being a historian (or history nerd)?

  2. Hi Rosanne
    Just read your book, Road from the West and I loved it. Your characters and plots held my interest all through the book. Can't wait to read the follow up to it. Your now on my list offavorite authors. When is Flowers of the Desert being released? Richard

  3. Richard, so glad you liked the book! Flower of the Desert is about 3/4 written. I'm sort of on enforced maternity leave from writing right now with the newest munchkin only letting me get about five hours of sleep at night. Hoping to get the book finished and published sometime in the new year!


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